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Commentaries on Chronicles Galore!

9th November 2007

There has been a resurgence of scholarly interest in Chronicles, which is evident in the number of commentaries recently published on this oft-neglected book. There is truly a wealth of resources in English for those interested in studying this theologically facinating book of the Bible. My division of the commentaries into those for “Scholars and Teachers” and “Pastors and Students” is admittedly somewhat artificial. Assiduious readers will glean much excellent information from most of the commentaries listed below.

Commentaries for Scholars and Teachers

With recent publications by Klein and Knoppers, there is no shortage of academic commentaries on Chronicles — especially 1 Chronicles. The academic heavyweights for 1 Chronicles are clearly Gary Knoppers‘s Anchor Bible volumes and Ralph Klein‘s Hermeneia commentary. Knoppers is second to none in terms of text-critical analysis, while Klein’s work is solidly academic, though also easily accessibly for pastors and students. I find Johnstone‘s analysis of the Masoretic text of Chronicles to be rather refreshing and original.

Other commentaries geared more for scholars and teachers include the excellent WBC volumes by Braun and Dillard (perhaps the best from an evangelical perspective) and De Vries, who is quite insightful in his analysis (but is limited by the format of the FOTL commentary series). Another commentary that is hampered by the format of the series, yet is invaluable for scholar and student alike, is Williamson‘s NCB commentary. Other scholarly volumes worthy of perusal include Jarick‘s interesting reading of Chronicles that “tunes out” other competing traditions, Dirksen‘s thorough historical critical study, as well as Curtis and Madsen‘s more traditional (albeit dated) philological commentary.

Finally, pride of place for academic commentaries on the book of Chronicles still has to go to Sarah Japhet‘s majesterial volume, not only because it covers both 1 and 2 Chronicles in one volume, but more importantly, it is both insightful and thorough in its exposition.

Commentaries for Teachers and Pastors

There have been a number of new commentaries published on Chronicles from a popular perspective in recent years. Selman‘s two volumes are quite good, as are the works by Thompson and Tuell. Pastors will find Allen‘s and Hill‘s commentaries quite useful, though I find Allen’s discussions of modern applications to be closer to the mark. Out of all of these more popular commentaries I would probably give the strongest recommendation to McKenzie‘s volume. I have used it for seminary and undergraduate classes and have found that it both represents the state of current scholarship and is theologically sensitive.

I would welcome your comments — what commentaries on Chronicles do you find most useful and why?

For more commentary recommendations, see my “Old Testament Commentary Survey.”


2 Responses to “Commentaries on Chronicles Galore!”

  1. mike aubrey Says:

    This isn’t completely related, it is about commentaries on historical books…

    Have you looked at Tsumura’s first volume of Samuel? I’ve read the first 200 pages or so and have been very impressed with it.

    His application of Discourse Analysis is very good.

    If you have looked at it, do you have any thoughts?

  2. Metacatholic | A little unofficial Biblical Studies carnivalette Says:

    [...] Williams has a really useful post on recent work on Chronicles. This is the kind of thing I would like to see more of. Perhaps someone should work at coordinating [...]